Letters: General practice a less attractive prospect

Reading Dr Rachel Stone's letter (GP, 21 November), I am shocked to see such a high percentage of newly-qualified GPs from her VTS having to settle for locum work.

In the three-and-a-half years since I qualified, I have been working as a salaried GP in the same job and, in the traditionalist way, feel the time is right to apply for partnership.

However, the GP landscape is very different in view from August 2005, and as well as there being many fewer partnership opportunities, the opportunities for salaried GPs to learn the non-clinical side of general practice are very poor.

Whereas previously a partnership may have helped nurture a salaried GP in aspects related to finance, business and personnel management with a view to welcoming them into the fold, these features now remain mysterious, which perpetuates the feeling of a two-tier system - the 'us and them' of salaried GPs and partners.

Applying for a potential partnership vacancy without a grounding in management matters leaves the applicant at a disadvantage - and although theoretical processes can be gleaned from literature and from other colleagues, this fails to cover the nitty-gritty of day-to-day practice matters.

Teaching undergraduates and FY2s, I am often asked whether I would recommend a career in general practice.

Three-and-a-half years ago I would have said 'probably'; now 'almost certainly not'.

Dr Barney Tinsley, GP35 panel member, Bradford.

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